M5Stack's New LoRa Modules Offer Multi-Stack Support, External Antenna Connectivity

Compatible with the M5Stack Core, Core2, and CoreS3, these new modules are available in two frequency-specific versions.

M5Stack has announced the launch of two refreshed modules for those who need longer-range communication than is possible from its usual Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios: the LoRa Module 868MHz and 433MHz v1.1.

"[This] is a LoRa communication module in the M5Stack stacking module series," the company explains of its latest module designs. "This module comes standard with an external SMA antenna and also reserves two patch MCX antenna socket interfaces, allowing users to freely switch between different types of antennas according to their needs."

The two new modules, brought to our attention by Linux Gizmos, are almost, but not quite, identical. The M5Stack LoRa Module 868MHz is based on an Ai-Thinker Ra-01 LoRa module, while the M5Stack LoRa Module 433MHz uses the Ai-Thinker Ra-02 LoRa module β€” giving the two a different frequency range, with the 868MHz module tunable from 803MHz to 930MHz and the 433MHz module tunable from 410MHz to 525MHz.

In both cases, the modules are designed to sit in a stack with other M5Stack devices β€” using DIP switches to toggle the peripheral configuration, so multiple different stack modules can be used simultaneously β€” and provide long-range low-power communication. Each comes with a bundled dipole stick antenna, though improved performance is possible by replacing it with something bigger.

The new modules replace earlier v1.0 designs, adding the DIP switches in order to provide compatibility with different generations of M5Core hosts and stacks of multiple modules while also adding the SMA connector in place of an on-board antenna.

The revised modules are now available to order on the M5Stack store, priced at $17.50 for the 868MHz version and $12.50 for the 433MHz version.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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